What Kind Of Outdoor Consumer Are You? (Can You Say ‘Athleisurist’?)

August 28, 2015
Photo: Trail Runner, Boulder Flatirons (Flickr/CC)
If you live in Colorado, the chances are pretty good that you have friends who fit the mold for what the Outdoor Industry Association calls the "traditional" outdoor consumer. 
More likely than not, he's a guy. Maybe he's fit and in his mid-30s. He might share his impressive outdoor achievements over beers, Instagram or maybe both. He can also afford the high-performance stuff that helps him scale peaks, tear up mogul runs, win trail races and power mountain bikes up rocky gullies. 
At the very least, you've seen his Subaru.
But that guy's demographic is no longer driving the outdoor industry: more and more women are part of the mix. And the overall numbers are staggering. A near all-time high of 143 million Americans participated in outdoor activities in 2014. REI rode that wave to 20 percent surge in memberships. Patagonia's profits have tripled since 2013. 
Pushing that growth are consumers who aren't necessarily "in it to win it." The trade group says many more get into the outdoors because of friends, kids or significant others. The new social reality of outdoor recreation extends online. More and more, smartphones render proof -- and encouragement -- of outdoor exploits for an even wider audience.
The new inclusivity only goes so far, though. Outdoor consumers remain overwhelmingly white and wealthy. But as boomers age and more millennials pack the trailhead, there are changes afoot according to the OIA. That's why it commissioned a study to help guide retailers toward a broader set of potential buyers. The result is a seven-part typology of the outdoor consumer released this summer. Where do you fit in?
Photo: Cyclist w lots of gear (FLICKR)
You might not be a professional athlete, but you aspire to be one. As such, you don't mind spending a few extra dollars for top-end gear that helps people win. You care more about function than fashion. You love technology and use it to track your workouts. Congratulations, you're the "Achiever." Here's what retailers know about you:
  • Percent white: 47
  • Percent female: 38
  • Median age: 34
  • Average yearly income: $82,000
  • Favorite brands: Adidas, Under Armour, Columbia

Photo: Woman hiking (FLICKR)Maybe you head out the door because outside because it's nice outside. Maybe you like to run or hike with a competitive edge, but you balance that with more social outdoor activities. As such, you buy sensible stuff with a range of uses in mind. Way to go, you're the "Outdoor Native." And the odds say you are a middle-aged white guy: 

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